HomeIndiaIndia seeks to extend agreement to transport fuel through Bangladesh

India seeks to extend agreement to transport fuel through Bangladesh

Two officials aware of the development said India is looking to expand its agreement with Bangladesh to transport fuel from the eastern neighboring states to the states of Tripura, Mizoram and Manipur. This deal expires on November 30.

The route to Bangladesh allows Indian fuel retailers to avoid the mountainous route through Silchar in Assam, which is prone to landslides. The only rail link connecting Assam’s Dima Hasao district with Mizoram, Manipur and Tripura and the rest of the country was washed away earlier this year following heavy rains and landslides.

“If there is any disruption in Silchar, we will deal with India-Bangladesh side. That (option) has been there, and it is till November 30. We are trying to further strengthen and push this (deal) for LPG and fuel transportation. So instead of going through Silchar and hilly areas prone to landslides, we can go straight through Bangladesh to the Tripura border.”

The official said that New Delhi is expected to take up the matter with Dhaka. Under the agreement, OMCs transporting fuel pay toll tax to Bangladesh authorities in lieu of using the route. “If fuel comes to Tripura through this route, we can more reliably supply to Mizoram and Manipur,” he said.

State-run Indian Oil Corp Ltd (IOCL) first dispatched seven tankers carrying 84,000 liters of kerosene and diesel from Guwahati to Tripura via Bangladesh in 2016, when heavy rains cut off Tripura’s road connectivity to Assam. , where the supply begins. This was done under a short-term agreement.

Last month, IOCL signed the agreement, which expires in November, and said the company would again conduct trial runs to transport the fuel.

Responding to a query, an IOCL spokesperson said, “The MoU for the movement of petroleum products from Assam to Tripura/Mizoram via Bangladesh is valid till 30 November 2022. We mutually agree on the agreement with the provision of further extension. We propose to take the memorandum forward. Permission.”

“In this regard, we would request the relevant department of the Government of Bangladesh in coordination with the Embassy of India in Bangladesh and MOPNG, Government of India,” the spokesperson said.

So far, the arrangement has been adopted for short periods, mainly during the monsoon and post-monsoon periods, when the normal interstate route is submerged. But the government now wants to expand the use of the Bangladesh route so that trucks and tankers can enter the neighboring country through Dawki in Meghalaya, the official said.

Questions sent to the spokespersons of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, the Ministry of External Affairs and the Bangladesh High Commission at press time remained unanswered.

Floods in Assam have disrupted fuel supply to Mizoram and Tripura. Earlier this year, the two states were battling a fuel crisis due to the breakdown of a main railway line and National Highway 6 connecting Tripura and Assam amid floods. As a result, both had to resort to rationing of petroleum products in May.

Talks to take forward the agreement are taking place at a time when India and Bangladesh are looking to strengthen their ties. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited India this week after the two countries signed seven agreements for cooperation in areas ranging from river water sharing to space and unveiled new connectivity and energy initiatives.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Hasina also reviewed progress on the India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline, which will help move high-speed diesel from India to northern Bangladesh.

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